Reigning world champion PV Sindhu said defeating the then-reigning Olympic champion Li Xuerui at the China Open in 2012 strengthened her resolve to succeed in the senior circuit.

Sindhu had burst onto the scene when as a 16-year-old she had stunned London Olympics gold medallist Li in the quarterfinals of China Masters. A year later, she claimed a bronze medal on debut at the prestigious World Championships, that kick-started a dream run which saw her clinch gold in 2019.

PV Sindhu at 25: Olympic medallist, world champion already – what next for the Indian badminton ace?

She has so far won five medals at the prestigious tournament — two bronze, two silver and a gold, besides the Olympic silver medal four years ago in Rio de Janeiro.

“When I started playing I was doing well but international standards are not the same. In the beginning, I kept losing in first rounds, qualifying rounds. I realised I needed to go out harder, that is when I kept working hard,” Sindhu told Indian table tennis player Mudit Dani on his online show In The Sportlight.

“I used to feel sad and thinking what mistake I’m making, I am also working hard as others.

“I think that turning point I would say I got in 2012 where I beat Li Xuerui, she was current Olympic champion at that time. Since then I worked extra hard and I have been improving step by step, year by year.”

Pause, rewind, play: PV Sindhu’s 2013 World C’ship bronze medal was the start of something special

A big fan of 2004 Olympic gold medalist Taufik Hidayat’s backhand and two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan’s style of play, Sindhu still remembered how a fan on her arrival in Hyderabad from Rio presented her with a month’s salary for her exploits at the mega event.

“It was so touching that I remember it even today. I wrote him a letter and sent him some money,” said the world No. 7.

While Sindhu currently continues to train at home and is having a relaxed time with her family during the COVID-19 pandemic, she has also picked up new skills.

“I have been learning a few things; like I paint nowadays. I am also cooking and baking. It’s really interesting because earlier it was always badminton but now you are learning different stuff which is creative,” said Sindhu.

Sindhu, along with her badminton colleagues, is waiting for a green light from the Telangana government to resume their training amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Badminton Association of India had planned to conduct the training camp at Hyderabad from July 1 but the Telangana government still hasn’t given a go ahead due to the increasing Covid-19 cases in the state.